Saturday, November 17, 2007

More baby herbs

As I was saying, when so rudely interrupted by Blogger, almost all of this happened in one day. The thyme really grew fast too.

The chives are having a real growth spurt today as well. The mint and parsley seem to be coming along fine too.

In the other Aerogarden (located in the office/exercise room for lack of available table space in any other area where it will get the necessary dark to set fruit), the tomatoes are also progressing nicely. The yellow cultivar sprouted in 3 days, with the two red cherry tomatoes sprouting in 4.5. I took the hot cap off the yellow ones on Thursday night, and the other two got their caps off Friday night. Today the yellow ones are just starting to show the 2nd set of leaves. Tme to find my teeny scissors and sacrifice the weaklings among the tomatoes.

Portrait of the Basil as a young herb

Things have been coming up apace in the Aerogardens. The dill showed up on day 4, and was ready to have its hot cap off the next day, along with the 2 basils & the thyme.

The chives appeared on day 5, as did the mint, and the parsley is just showing a hint of green.

Unfortunately, Blogger is pretty much refusing to upload pix.  I've tried about 10 times, so the rest will have to wait until later.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Patience may be a virtue....

but it's not one I possess in any quantity. Fortunately for me, the Aerogarden is really going gangbusters. On day 3 (well, 2.5 from starting) 3 of the 7 types of herbs have sprouted. Both the purple and green basils and the thyme are up. I tried for a picture, but the teeny-tiny hot caps reflect too much. They'll come off in a day or so, and then I'll get a portrait of a young herb.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Garden Outside & the Gardens Inside

While it is certainly not what we would call winter here in Barrow, since the temperature is still well above 0˚F, for most folks it would qualify. The Tundra Garden is draped in a blanket of snow, with mushroom hats on the sections of log that serve as garden funiture (stools, tables, whatever is needed) in warmer times. Although much more snow will accumulate, and it will be scuplted by the wind in various and ever-changing shapes from fantasy, the overall state of affairs won't change much for the next 6 or 7 months. We're down to less that 3.5 hours of sun today, and going fast.

That being the case, what's a gardener to do? I do have a fair number of house plants that live by windows with fluoresecent strips above them. The mother-in-law's toungue does very well (5 feet high and blooming regularly) and the Christmas cactus blooms several times a year. However, I have a yen for fresh vegetables.

SO, prompted by an article in the Anchorage Daily News by Jeff Lowenfels, garden writer extrodinaire, I bought a couple of Aerogardens. (If you follow the link, keep in mind he gardens in South Central. They have a couple more months than I do.) They are self-contained hydrponic gardens, with lights. They come with a pre-planted seed kit, although you can get stuff to use your own seeds. I set them up over the weekend. They are cute, the lights are very bright, and they hum gently when the pump is running. I'm finding the bright islands of light very alluring, and I must admit I keep checking the herb one to see if the basil is up yet (I know--it's too soon, but in a couple days...). I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Night is falling on the TundraGarden

At this latitude, winter is pretty dark. Today, the sun officially rises at 10:51 and sets at 3:30. So we have a whopping 4 hours & 40 minutes of daylight! Of course, it's overcast today, so there's not any actual sunlight. It diminishes rapidly; tomorrow's sunrise is10:58 and sunset is at 3:30. I believe the sun will set until next year on Novemeber 18th.

This doesn't mean that it's totally dark. Around solar noon the sun is close enough to the horizon that we get a sort of twilight that one could read by. The ground is snow-covered, so what light there is is reflected. When there is a full moon and no clouds it is actually quite easy to get around outside of town.

I've ordered an Aerogarden, and am eagerly awainting its arrival to try a few things under lights. My house plants live unde a couple of flourescent strips we put along the windows they are next to, to make up for the sunlight they don't get for half the year.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Visiting in Idaho

I'm in Idaho for a conference. One of my friends here has bought some land & is planning to build on it. He took several of us up there to see it. The place has great views. It's on a really steep hill, currently covered with juniper, which really smells wonderful. There were lots of deer tracks on the lot.

The contrast with home was really striking. Aside from the fact that there's no snow and lots of daylight here, the overwhelming impression is dry. It seems odd, since I actually live in an Arctic desert, but the permafrost keeps the water on the surface and it's so flat, it doesn't run off quickly. Here, it looks like they don't get much rain, since there's a lot of stuff built on steep places, and lots bulldozed for new construction don't seem to have much in the way of erosion control.

I haven't had much chance to look at gardens, but the ones I've seen seem to feature large rocks plopped in them, and more bark mulch than I've seen in *years*.